BALTIMORE—Wade Miley wanted that complete game. He walked off the mound one out short of it, but with the satisfaction that he’d showed the Orioles why they traded for him nearly two months ago.
In Miley’s first nine Orioles starts, there was only one win. Not only did he get a solid one on Saturday night, but his performance helped push the Orioles back into the second wild-card spot.
Miley allowed one run on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings, matching his career high with 11 strikeouts and not walking a batter in the Orioles’ 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks before 40,610 at Oriole Park.
Combined with the Detroit Tigers’ 7-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon, the Orioles moved past Detroit and lead them by a half-game.
Recently, Miley talked with Orioles pitching great Scott McGregor, and McGregor, who is still in the organization had some advice.
“We just talked about if there is such a thing as trying too hard. ‘Try easy’ is what he told me. That kind of just stuck,” Miley said. “Rather than trying to be max effort out there every time, just got to relax and execute pitches,” Miley said.
Miley (9-13) was rolling until Brandon Drury’s double scored Paul Goldschmidt with two outs in the ninth.
After Miley received his warm ovation, the former Diamondback looked over at Goldschmidt and showed him his middle finger, which was caught on television.
Miley began his post-game remarks by apologizing and expressing his admiration for Goldschmidt, who had three of the seven hits against him.
Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t pleased to take Miley out, and replace him with Tyler Wilson, who recorded the final out. The fans loudly booed the decision.
“They certainly weren’t cheering me. I was thinking about flipping it to Tyler about halfway across the outfield and walk off with him. I didn’t think I had enough arm to reach Tyler,” Showalter said.
Miley’s wife is due to give birth to their first child within the next two weeks, and he appreciated the fan support.
“That’s kind of what we play for. That’s the reaction you want. Yu obviously want to go out there and do good and do your job and it worked out tonight,” Miley said.
Mark Trumbo, whose 45th home run in the fifth inning gave the Orioles a 6-0 lead, played with Miley in Arizona, and empathized with his former teammate, pointing out a few starts back that it’s difficult to be traded during the season.
“I’ve seen him a lot. I’ve seen him a lot more than most people in this room. I know what he’s capable of,” Trumbo said. “I’ve seen when he was going well. This is what you can expect for him. Tremendous tempo, he was working in and out. He had all his pitches going. That was just a great job tonight.”
The Orioles (84-71) scored a run in the first off Robbie Ray (8-14) when Manny Machado’s single scored Adam Jones.
Matt Wieters led off the second with a drive to right that Yasmany Tomas couldn’t handle, and Wieters was on third with a double and the error. He scored on J.J. Hardy’s fly ball.
Trey Mancini became the third player in major league history to homer in his first three starts in the fourth inning, and the Orioles lead stretched to 5-0 on Chris Davis’ two-run single.
The Diamondbacks’ Carlos Quentin (2006) and Colorado’s Trevor Story (2016) are the other players to homer in their first three at-bats.
“It’s been incredible, you know? I could never imagine it happening this way, and it’s still hard to believe. A week ago, I was down in Florida prepared for this, but it’s cool, a week later, with everything that’s happened, to be here in Baltimore and to contribute to it, to a postseason run,” Mancini said.
A night before, Showalter used nearly all of his top-tier relievers: Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens and O’Day in the 12-inning win.
Miley’s deep start enabled Showalter to rest his core as well as Oliver Drake and Tommy Hunter, who also pitched Friday night, and Donnie Hart, who didn’t.
We got to the point where three guys, maybe four, three for sure we were not going to push the envelope on tonight. Not that one day is going make that much difference, but with the day game tomorrow, if we had to push the envelope on them we’d really be short tomorrow,” Showalter said.
NOTES: The Orioles have 13 wins in interleague play, the most in club history. … Jones walked twice. His 38 walks set a career-high. … Braden Shipley (4-4, 5.49) faces Dylan Bundy (9-6, 4.13) on Sunday afternoon in the final home game of the regular season.